Why the hell do people have an RSS feed for their blog that contains only the first few lines of the post and then a ellipsis. Don’t they realise that this is infuriating for those of us that use RSS aggregators? What is the point? To force people to navigate to their site rather than rely on the RSS feed? Surely this alienates potential readers. Why? Rarrrr!!!
Archive for February, 2004
I just came across what appears to be a slightly different statement of the Argument from Dependency. It seems equivalent but I’ll have to give a little thought to the matter, I’ve a feeling it might be a little weaker. It is stated as such:
The Cosmological Argument from Cause: Every effect has a cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of finite causes. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause or necessary being. This being is God.
Also, while thinking about the Argument from Dependency is a nice mental exercise, I still feel that the argument for the existence of God that has the most impact on people has to be the Anthropological Argument, or the simple assertion that either God exists or there is no basis for morality (ie. there is no such thing as right or wrong). This isn’t a ‘proof’ as such because it does not rule out the possibility that there might be no such thing as absolute morality. However, this idea is one that most people are unwilling to accept. Indeed, there is a certain dichotomy of thought displayed in the actions of the average atheist or agnostic. He or she lives as if right and wrong existed and yet deny (or at least cast doubt upon) the existence of God (or a reason for ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to exist). Like Nietzsche said: “When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet.”
I’ll come back to the anthropological argument in due course.
I’ll also continue on the argument from dependency, I still have to elucidate the nature of this ‘independent thing’, I also might have to tie up a few loose ends.
Of course, while all of these arguments and thoughts are good for aiding the understanding and appreciation of God, they are insignificant compared to the fact that the basis of Christianity is not a simple argument attempting to procure mere belief, but Christianity is centred upon the person of Jesus and his love and resulting sacrifice for mankind, a fact more wonderful than any other. Only an appreciation of this element will lead to a proper understanding.
3. If something exists there must exist an independent thing.
This is established from my argument for premise 2.
4. Something exists.
Here’s betting somebody will challenge this.
Therefore an independent thing exists.
Yes, indeed. To keep Sir William of Ockham happy I think it would be best to limit the number of these independent things to 1. While there is nothing stopping more of them existing 1 is logically enough.
Next I will contend that this independent thing is God. I’ll bet you can’t wait.
I think that, given the definition of dependence I have proposed, the second premise is clear. If X depends on X1 then in order for X to exist X1 must exist. If X1 depends on X2 then, in order for X1 to exist X2 must exist. This process will continue indefinitely and, if each Xi is dependent on some Xi+1 for it’s existence then there will always be a further cause (or depended-upon-thing) to take into account and X will never come into existence. X will only come into existence if there exists in this chain of dependency some Xn which depends on nothing else for it’s existence.
An infinite regression of dependencies does not an existence cause.
Yoda probably said that.
I suppose I’ll begin to reply to my friend’s comments. His input is in italics, my comments follow.
X is dependent on Y means that Y cannot exist without X. That X causes Y is not sufficient. Multiple entities might cause Y, and hence Y would not have a dependency on any particular entity.
I did not rule out the possibility of there being several causes for Y’s existence. Indeed, I alluded to the possibility. If Y cannot exist without X then surely X is a cause of Y’s existence. If X did not exist then Y would not.
There is no inherent contradiction in an object depending on itself for it’s existence. Indeed, every object is necessarily dependent on itself for it’s existence. X cannot exist without X, trivially. The question is whether every entity must have multiple dependencies.
I disagree. I think X depending on itself to exist is inherently contradictory. To say X cannot exist without X is entirely different from saying X is dependent on X. If X cannot exist unless it already exists then it will never come into existence.
There were more comments, including a challenge to define causality. I may return to these later but I think it digresses from the main argument a bit too much for the moment.